Baby Steps: Passion
Let’s take a step back seeing that this is my first entry. I’ll start with what has been most obvious since I got to where I am now and I’ll build on that for the future.
What makes me qualified to write a blog on venture capital? I suppose nothing officially. I certainly don’t have a history of raising VC as an entrepreneur (at least not yet). But this is a blog, and anyone who wants to write a blog has the green light to do so (did you see Julie and Julia?). But I want to make sure whatever I write moving forward communicates something valuable and insightful both into the industry I serve (growth capital) or one that affects it.
So, what can I contribute that’s relevant?
Well, ever since I began my career in venture capital at OpenView Venture Partners I’ve learned a couple valuable things that I feel are worth sharing. First and foremost I have come to truly respect and appreciate the entrepreneurs with whom I speak with on a daily basis. The ones who are so passionate they become giddy and drunk with their ideas upon pitching them to me. But this has become a motivation for my own existence in a daily effort to find the next investment, where to place our expansion/growth capital. A motivation to do right by their motivation and in effect translate that into my own professional life. I’ve had the inestimable privilege on a daily basis to speak with some extremely bright individuals and companies. From web-based 3D visualization tools for human anatomy, to software that provides on-line communities and social solutions for teams and of course everything in between. What I find that comes through the most (at least for the good ones) is their passion, passion to succeed, passion to solve a problem, passion to close a round of venture capital financing. Because as each and every one of those entrepreneurs knows, their product is the next big thing…and if they don’t believe that, who will?
Turns out the seat I sit in and the cubicle I call home during my work day has some significant implications. Ones that involve informed decisions about potential investments for the firm, but more often than not that means turning away passionate people and great (sometimes not so great) ideas. Jeff Bussgang at Flybridge Capital Partners has some interesting thoughts on this process see here: http://bostonvcblog.typepad.com/. For the passionate entrepreneurs that aren’t right for OpenView they are right for someone else. I may not remember all the specific details of all products that are pitched to me, but I definitely remember their passion.
As a young entrepreneurial spirited guy I appreciate each and every conversation I have with prospects and feel honored to be in a position that helps to serve their potential greater good.
If I can take anything away from this process it is that I am impassioned by these guys and girls as much as they are about their companies.